… thought provoking cartography …

Grayson Perry map

William, the 6th Earl of Coventry, bought the finest works of art and worked closely with Capability Brown to create the gardener’s “first and most favourite” landscape park. Continuing this vision, the exhibition in the Tapestry Room and Library of Croome Court shows three tapestries and two etchings by Grayson Perry centring around the theme of landscapes and identity.

Grayson Perry‘s approach of juxtaposing craft techniques with a wry commentary on modern culture works well in these empty rooms with their fine Adam ceilings and bare, nail studded panelling walls. I must confess I don’t particularly like the colour palette nor his choice of mock/naive images – but perhaps that is the point? I did enjoy looking at the works however, thinking about the ideas behind the art. My favourite was the Red Carpet, 2017, (above). It is a medieval Mappi Mundi of modern jargon centring on marked difference between the metropolitan elite and the rest of the country.  I appear to live somewhere between boutique hotel and retirement village which is SPOT ON – though I’m not entirely sure about the Free Wifi or Human Trafficking …retirement village boutique hotel

Facing this is The Digmoor Tapestry, 2016, a map of a 1970s housing estate in Skelmersdale strewn with obscene graffiti which Grayson made after visiting youth gangs there. Next door in the Library is the third tapestry, his large Battle of Britain, 2017, a bleak landscape of rural poverty. These were both depressing and hard hitting.

Two huge etchings are hung in the Library: Map of an Englishman, 2004, and Map of Days, 2013. These more personal works take their inspiration from old maps and reminded me rather of charts printed in the inside fantasy novels. The first has land masses that resemble the two halves of a brain and the place names on it are psychological states and behaviours. The later Map of Days (below) is a self-portrait, with Grayson depicted as a fortified Renaissance city. Places marked are linked to life events, emotional states and thoughts. I enjoyed gazing up at them, got thoroughly absorbed in their intricacies, and wondered what my map would look like …


grayson perry map of days

Grayson Perry: Landscapes is a free exhibition and runs until Sunday 29 September (normal admission applies to access the property). This is part of the National Trust’s National Public Programme – People’s Landscapes, which explores the social history of places. For further information about this project, click here. The National Trust worked with Paragon to bring these five artworks by Grayson Perry to Croome. Paragon, based in London, are publishers in the contemporary art world and are involved in many print making projects. For more information about them, click here.

Croome Court, near High Green, Worcester, Worcestershire, WR8 9DW is open everyday 10am-5pm (House & exhibition 11am-4pm) apart from Christmas and Christmas Eve. There are two cafes, a second hand book shop and a children’s play area. There is also the RAF Defford Museum to look around and you could pick up a leaflet detailing the more lengthy walks to the “Eye Catchers”  outside the grounds. Quite frankly, why haven’t you been yet? For further details, click here.